Over the last eight years Maple Ridge’s Mike and Angie Gagnon, their daughter Deandra, and grandsons Anthony and Austin have faced more adversity than any family should ever have to endure.
The HomeTeam, based in Coquitlam, picked the Gagnon family as reciepients of their 2012 home makeover project.
In 2004 Deandra and both her sons were involved in a horrific car crash, which left Deandra with a brain injury, in a coma, fighting for her life.
Her injuries were so severe that even G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver lacked the facilities to fully care for her.
With the help of a local doctor Deandra was accepted into The Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Ponoka, Alb.
Over the next 18 months Deandra’s determination and the care she received in Ponoka resulted in tremendous progress including her recovery of speech and some mobility.
During this time Mike and Angie and their grandsons made the 28 hour return trek to and from Ponoka every weekend to spend time with her.
“This family has struggled so hard to make it through this,” said pastor Stevan Mirkovich, adding that this is The HomeTeam’s ninth project.
“We do it because a home is an extension of what is going on in a person’s life,” the pastor added.
“Their life will never be normal in the sense of how we perceive normal,” Mirkovich said.
Deandra’s rehabilitation continues today at home in Maple Ridge.
After his daughter’s accident, Mike, who has a small home-based furniture repair business realized that it would be essential to renovate the home to accommodate Deandra and the boys.
With some past experience in residential contracting he set out on an ambitious project that involved adding a second storey and new exterior to surround and eventually replace the existing house and garage.
Unfortunately, the project has stalled and was never finished. Much of the upstairs interior is completed, but the exterior remains unfinished and the main floor is not functional.
Providing care for Deandra and her sons, and taking on a challenging construction project has taken its toll emotionally, physically, and financially for the Gagnons.
The renovations are scheduled for Sept. 9 to 16.
The HomeTeam is looking for all of its past businesses and volunteers, along with anyone new who wants to join, to help them with this worthwhile project.
To help or donate call Pastor Stevan Mirkovich and The HomeTeam at 604-723-3433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.